I woke with a cold; so much for the flu shot my doctor insisted on jabbing into me. Our day time temperatures in Sydney may still be in their 20s but at night and early morning it feels like winter. Our winter, that is. Hey, 12 degrees C is cold, to us; that’s slippers weather. Don’t laugh. A look under the bed for them turned up 30 years’ worth of ‘images’ from x rays, cat scans and MRIs. These should be turned into something useful. Like putting them over the windows so my nosy neighbours can’t look through.
However, I don’t mind the copy cats growing fruit trees like I do. If only they would control their pests who have less respect for boundaries than their owners. I have one defence for pests in my garden – vigilance.
For a couple of years another neighbour’s daughter came over to learn about gardening, once a week. I said to her on the first day: Lizzie, gardening is done with your eyes. So our routine began with a walk around the garden, bug spotting. By ‘bugs’ I mean anything that may undermine the health of the plants; not necessarily insects Sometimes they have two legs and sometimes they grow roots, like weeds.
Lizzie has grown from the undersized 11 year old to a beauty at 13, with the schedule of any teenager. Her family, my neighbours of eight years, are moving away. I seldom see her around any more. Still, I continue my routine of inspecting the garden as the first task of the day.
The ‘cold’ has reduced the number of pests in the garden but Sydney weather is fickle. The day time temperature forecast for the next 4 days is between 26 to 31 degrees C maximum. These are temperatures that will entice bugs to emerge from their eggs. Time to mix up another batch of white oil.
I make up my own: to one litre of water add 10 mL of vegetable oil and a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid. Shake well before use. It’ll discourage most ‘bugs’ in my orchard: aphids, scales, leaf miners, spider mites etc. Harmless and effective with regular application. Be sure to spray the underside of leaves, stems and trunks.
B is for Bugs and I think I have one. Slippers, hot drink, rest.
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4072376.htm – a video (4:33) on part of my urban orchard